“They say that you may always know the grave of a Virginian as, from the quantity of julep he has drunk, mint invariably springs up where he has been buried.” Frederick Marryat, 1839
Memorial Day weekend is heralded as the unofficial start to summer, a time to kick up your heels and relax with friends and family. What I did not know is that on May 30th every year it’s also National Mint Julep Day. The mint julep originated in the south with first mentions of the drink in the late eighteenth century in Virginia taverns. In 1938, Churchill Downs started promoting the drink for the Kentucky Derby and each year around 120,000 juleps are served over the two day event.
The recipe can vary but it is very simple to make with just a few ingredients. Spearmint is the mint of choice typically and so refreshing.
Start by removing the mint leaves from their stems and place in the bottom of the julep cup. Add simple syrup and muddle very lightly. If you don’t have a muddler you can use the back of a spoon. The goal is not to break apart the mint, but rather to release the oils from the mint, infusing the simple syrup with mint flavor.
Next, add the bourbon and fill half of the julep cup with crushed ice. Stir using a bar spoon or swizzle stick so that the mint, syrup, bourbon and ice are thoroughly mixed. I crushed my ice in a food processor, but you can also use a blender or a lewis bag and mallet.
Now that all of the ingredients have been added and you’ve given a quick stir, add even more ice. You’ll want to fill with crushed ice up and over the rim of the julep cup. At this point your drink will be ice-cold, and your cup frosty with condensation.
Lastly, garnish with a large sprig of mint. Place your straw next to the garnish so you can smell the fresh mint while you sip.
When you’re entertaining, it’s the small and simple touches that can make all the difference. Candles flickering in your mother’s heirloom candleholders, fresh flowers from the garden, the fruit from the farmers market, and that signature dish that always gets raves from your guests.
We make our cloth dinner napkins in hopes that they will be a special addition to your memorable moments when you connect with friends, family and loved ones over a meal.
With that in mind, we thought it might be fun to go over a few ways to fold your napkins to feature silverware.
Napkin Origami Horn
This lovely creation comes from Love to Know. To me, it looks like a dress with three layering hems, turned upside-down:
“Start with the finished side of your napkin face down. Fold the napkin in half vertically, then fold in half once more to make a square. Press the folds lightly with your iron if needed.
Place the napkin in front of you in a diamond position with the open ends at the top. Fold each layer of the napkin back, tucking it in so the seam is not visible. Space the layers roughly one inch apart, taking care to make the folds as neat as possible.
Flip the napkin over and fold the left point across the right point. Flip the napkin back to the original position, then add any silverware that is desired. Alternatively, this design could be used to hold flowers or other decorative accents for your table.”
Place the napkin flat on the table. Fold up the bottom two to three inches evenly across the bottom.
Place the silverware in the pocket, nesting together if needed to keep the bundle small. Place the flatware so the bottom of the handles touch the inner fold. Also, place the bundles about two inches from the right.
Then fold the top half over the silverware so ends meet. Then simply roll, starting from the right, and secure the bundle with a ribbon, a piece of twine, or whatever goes with your decor.
I am delighted to share a guest post by Anita Sebastian. Anita and I met in Singapore years ago when I ran the global ArtScience Prize and visited Singapore at least once a year to participate in their ideas festival. Anita is a writer and editor. She spends many hours in the forests and reserves in Singapore. Her books, the Ranger Anne series of children’s books is a reflection of her love for the animals and the natural environment. Sharing passions, inspiring more joy, love and laughter is the intent of everything we highlight on the blog. Please enjoy this delightful post by Anita – I sure did. xo, Carrie
There comes a time in your life where you feel the need to step back and take a fresh look at your motivation for your choices and decisions. Some may call it a mid-life crisis or more recently, the new normal.
If flights were not taking off last year and this year, and who knows what will come next year, this means for me the Camino de Santiago walk in Spain would also off the table. Again. So I decided to walk my Camino right here in Singapore in my own way, masks and all.
Initially I started walking home from work. It took about 2 hours with a stop for a drink. It was about 10-12km navigating through roadworks, strange roads and traffic lights. The most interesting part was the stares and questions, “Where are you from?” Answer: Oh, just walking home.
When a childhood friend suggested on Facebook that I walk up to Mount Faber, I was delighted to see other childhood friends interested to do the walk with me. And this sparked the beginning of the Adventures of the Island Girls.
Having grown up in the same primary/secondary school, we have shared memories of school and life in old Singapore. Other than wanting to walk our nature trails, we had another thing in common: searching out good old-style local food. This was added motivation to walk, walk, walk and make space for goodies! A win-win situation.
We walked through a reservoir-nature reserve, climbed a rather tough hill loaded with inclines and steps, walked on park trails that led to coastal waters, and traversed over our lovely Coney Island as well.
As we leave footprints in forest trails and mangroves, we are blessed to encounter an array of fauna and flora that come together to make up a fragile yet resilient ecosystem filled with a biodiversity that would thrill any zoologist, botanist or environmentalist.
All that is needed is a little patience and a sense of wonder. And let’s not forget – good people to share them with. The Japanese concept of Shinrin-Yoku is so true.
We’ve spotted numerous brightly coloured birds and spiders along the trails. As well as so many varieties of mushrooms such as the brackets from the ganoderma species, mushrooms ala smurf from the lepiota species, and even the elusive stinkhorn with a lace skirt.
Keep your eye open for giant inviting ferns, lichens, and uber tall trees with trunks so wide and roots so strong that also serve as resting spots! Breathe in the fresh air and allow all your senses to re-awaken.
Hmmm and also keep an eye on your friends. There are joyful photo ops everywhere you turn!
The joy of shared experiences, the laughter, the wonder, the injuries, the lost trails… priceless.
I am still solo walking at other times. During these times, I look out for what ‘sparks joy’ for me: green plants, flowers, tall trees, birds, crickets, the moon and dinosaurs.
With each walk, I can feel my mind and body changing:
my mood is better,
my energy levels increase,
I sleep better at night, and
I am able to focus and engage in good critical thinking and analysis the next day.
I am happier and also able to share this distinctive “green” joy with others. When the busyness takes over, I know I can put on my shoes and walk the trails again.
I hope you find your Island Girls too. Let the adventures begin! <3
“And the moon said to me: my darling, you do not have to be full in order to shine”.